Christmas Concerts A Festive Delight

Delighted audiences enjoyed three incredibly special, festive concerts at St Mary’s church in Rye as our 2019 December Series rounded off an outstanding Rye Jazz year. We were thrilled to present American jazz singer and saxophonist Curtis Stigers on Thursday 12th December, The Kingdom Choir on Friday 13th and Barbara Dickson and Nick Holland on Saturday 14th December.

Curtis Stigers

Curtis Stigers joined us in Rye after a sold out series of concerts at the world famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London. We were thrilled to welcome Curtis to perform in Rye for the first time and he enthralled a packed audience with a wonderful performance with his superb band.

Curtis performed a varied programme which included songs from the American songbook, Christmas classics such as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, John Lennon’s Jealous Guy and his two biggest solo hits I Wonder Why and You´re all that Matters to Me. Curtis is a warm and hugely engaging performer; he interspersed stories with his repertoire, explaining the stories behind the many songs that he has written and names in music that he has had the pleasure of working with.

Curtis encored to a standing ovation with the most wonderful rendition of I Never Saw a Miracle which he co-wrote with Barry Mann ending what was a truly magical evening with one of the most respected singer songwriters of our generation.

We would like to thank our concert partners Spectrum Independent Financial Advice for supporting this event.

The Kingdom Choir

The highly acclaimed Kingdom Choir graced the stage at St Mary’s church on Friday 13th with what can only be described as an incredibly inspirational, uplifting, moving and absolutely remarkable performance.

Members of the audience were taken on an enthralling spiritual journey with a tremendous set which included mesmerising arrangements led by conductor and singer Clinton Jordan. They performed; Stormzy’s Blinded By Your Grace, Cold Play’s Fix You, a medley dedicated to the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin (Say A Little Prayer, Natural Woman, Respect and Think) followed by Gospel and Christmas classics; Amazing Grace, Oh Happy Day, This Little Light of Mine, Silent Night and Hark the Herald and of course, not forgetting a wonderful rendition of Stand By Me which shot the choir to worldwide fame at the Royal Wedding in May 2018 which was watched by an estimated 9.5 billion people across the globe.

We would like to thank our concert partners Arthur C Towner Ltd for supporting this event.

Barbara Dickson

Barbara Dickson remains Scotland’s biggest-selling female singer of all time and you can clearly understand why after experiencing her amazing concert on Saturday 14th December.

The festival is proud to provide the opportunity for emerging musical talent to perform to a wider audience. And we were thrilled to welcome singer songwriter and guitarist John Mason, who performed a superb opening set. We loved John so much that we have already asked him back to perform at the main August festival.

Barbara Dickson was joined on stage by pianist and singer Nick Holland; a perfect combination of supporting keyboards and backing vocals.
Barbara also played keyboards and guitar and performed many of her well known hits including Tell Me It’s Not True from the musical Blood Brothers, Another Suitcase in Another Hall from Evita and a haunting and stunning performance of Eleanor Rigby written by Lennon and McCartney.

The attentive audience was extremely appreciative of this exceptional concert and a standing ovation was rightly fitting as Barbara performed her hit song Caravan as her encore.

Our December series again supported The Music Well, a community interest company that supports wellbeing and health through music. We are delighted to announce that through your generosity just under £1,000 was raised for this extremely worthwhile cause – so thank you! And special thanks to Andy and Niki Stuart for their continued support of the festival.

Ian Bowden the festival director extends his gratitude and thanks to all of those that attend our concerts, our superb production team at On Stage for the amazing lighting, staging and sound; Pete Anderson and his team at Fletcher’s House for managing the bar; Anne, Shelley and David and all the team at St Mary’s church, the wonderful team of volunteers that help at our events with ushering and promotion,Tony Ham for taking superb photographs, the team at Kino Cinema and of course our stars behind the scenes that make our events happen, Vicki, Kate, Jane and Roma.

View the gallery of images from our December Series

We wish you all a very merry Christmas, happy new year and all that jazz!

Posted on 18/12/2019 by Ian Bowden

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